Over 700 students from 20 Coastal West Sussex schools gathered last Thursday for the Big Bang @ Butlin’s, Bognor Regis – a day of noisy and colourful interactive displays, shows and hands-on activities provided by local businesses and other organisations aimed at bringing science and engineering to life. The BBC filmed some of the displays and you can view the footage HERE.

The event was the culmination of the first Coastal STEMfest, a programme of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for schools and colleges in Coastal West Sussex which is giving students a unique insight into the courses and careers open to them locally and helping local businesses develop links with schools and colleges.

Among the local businesses and organisations providing activities at the Big Bang @ Butlin’s, Bognor Regis were Arun Control Systems, GSK, Inpress Plastics, Rayner and Rolls Royce.

“I’m really pleased Coastal STEMfest has delivered such a fantastic event for local students” said Kirk Brown, GSK Site Director, Worthing and Chairman of the Coastal West Sussex Partnership “It was fantastic to see so many students enjoying such a wide range of activities and taking the opportunity to ask questions about their future career opportunities”.

“This event also helped a number of local employers to engage and inspire their potential future workforce” which was another aim from the Coastal STEMfest “so that it can help reduce the local STEM skills gap. We’re looking forward to building on this in the future.”

One student from Davisons CE High School for Girls, said “before today I did not truly appreciate how valuable learning about and studying science was” while another said, “the best thing about today was finding out about the different opportunities and things that you can do when you’re older”.

Coastal STEMfest’s ambition is to enthuse the next generation to study and build careers in STEM-related disciplines and to develop the tools needed to drive the economy of the future. It’s doing this by delivering a series of fun and exciting interactive workshops and shows in schools, in STEM Clubs and within local companies.

Coastal STEMfest has been based on the success of Crawley STEMfest, an annual event in schools and colleges during May and June that was first held in 2012. It has been organised by STEM Sussex, the not-for-profit outreach department of the University of Brighton and supported by a number of partners including the Coastal West Sussex Partnership, Tomorrow’s Engineers, Sussex Learning Network, Arun District Council, Coast 2 Capital LEP and West Sussex County Council.

For further information, contact STEM Sussex, tel. 01273 641874 or email coastalstemfest@brighton.ac.uk